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William and Kate host postponed reception to mark unveiling of Diana statue

·2-min read

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have held a reception at Kensington Palace to mark the unveiling of the Diana, Princess of Wales statue.

William and Kate gathered in the sunken garden of their London home, where the bronze tribute to the late princess is located.

But the Duke of Sussex, who lives in California after quitting as a senior working royal, did not fly back to attend Tuesday’s event.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed guests to the sunken garden at their Kensington Palace home (Tim Rooke/PA)

He is understood to have been in touch privately with donors who supported the statue.

Brothers William and Harry unveiled the memorial together in July on what would have been their mother’s 60th birthday.

Guest numbers were limited at the brief official ceremony because of the pandemic to the two dukes and just 14 others including Diana’s three siblings, and the larger reception was postponed.

Diana’s 60th birthday
Harry, with Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, did not fly back for the event on Tuesday (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The private event on Tuesday afternoon was a chance for the Cambridges to thank those who backed the project and to gather in memory of the princess.

The guest list is thought to have included Diana’s close friends, former staff and relatives.

William and Harry have had a long documented rift, which stretches back to before the Sussexes’ wedding when Harry was apparently angered by what he perceived as William’s “snobbish” attitude to Meghan.

Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The statue by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley shows Diana, with short cropped hair and a style of dress based on the final period of her life, surrounded by three children.

The princess was killed in a car crash on August 31 in 1997, when William and Harry were just 15 and 12.

Harry is publishing his memoirs next year, and he and Meghan laid bare their brief lives as working royals in their Oprah interview in March, alleging a member of the family made a racist comment about their son, and telling how the institution failed to help the duchess when she was having suicidal thoughts.

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